Harvesting the fartichokes

I gave up waiting for a serious frost and harvested the first of my jerusalem artichokes today. Might as well do it while the weather is still good (JA harvest is for me synonymous with frozen fingers!). With the long mild autumn, the yield of Dave’s Shrine (long red, spreading variety) was above average, although the plants didn’t manage to flower (they sometimes almost flower, but nowhere near it this year).

I found the following description on the net from “Taylor’s Guide to Heirloom Vegetables”:
Dave’s Shrine (Judy’s Red or Wolcottonian Red) was collected by Dave Briars of Craftsbury, Vermont. Long (3-4 in.), fat tubers have beautiful bronzy purple skins; ivory –coloured flesh contains lots of dry matter, which gives this variety a “saltier”, more meaty taste than other chokes.

The white variety is Stampede which is probably identical to Bianca and Norwegian Dagnøytral (see http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=2669)
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Goldfinches on chicory

I’ve only ever seen goldfinches feeding on burdock seeds (Arctium) in the garden before. This morning I saw them both on nettle seed heads and then on these unharvested chicory heads. Another reason to grow and save seed of chicories, a wonderful vegetable that is easy to grow organically, comes in many great edimental varieties, beautiful flowers in the second year, both leafy green, root vegetable and coffee replacement varieties available, some being perennial as is the wild plant and can be forced in winter! See more in my book Around the world in 80 plants!

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This is an EX-Arctic Parrot

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Waxwings (sidensvans) are sometimes known as Arctic Parrots due to their amazing colours. Just before I got up this morning a heard a thud on a window. I knew immediately what it was and guessed it was a waxwing (drunk on the fermenting berries?) that had flown into a window, part of a large flock of close to 200 birds. And no, I’m sorry but it was not just stunned, nor was it pining for the fjords. He or she’s passed on! This northern parrot is no more! It has ceased to be! It’s expired and gone to meet it’s maker! It’s a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace! It’s metabolic processes are now history! It’s off the twig! It’s kicked the bucket, it’s shuffled off its mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible!! THIS IS AN EX-ARCTIC PARROT!!
Here’s the result of the post-mortem photo shoot….wonderful creatures aren’t they:  http://www.edimentals.com/pictures/index.php?/category/92

Edibles & ornamental plants

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